Gallup Global Wellbeing Index

An estimate of well-being, by nation, from data gathered by interviews in 150 countries, some face-to-face and some by telephone. The most detailed results are proprietary and are available for purchase.

The instrument used for the index is the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. The interviewee is asked to describe his well-being by imagining him or herself on a ladder with ten rungs, numbered from 0 to 10, 0 representing the worst possible life he could have and 10 the best. In Gallup’s use of the scale, individuals who gave their current life a 7 or higher and their future life an 8 or higher are categorized as “thriving.” Individuals who report their current and future lives as a 4 or lower are “suffering.” All others are “struggling.”

In the report based on data gathered between 2005 and 2010, 42% of those living in the Americas are thriving and 8% of those living in Africa. Within the Americas, the highest scoring nations were Costa Rica (63%), Canada (62%), Panama (58%), Brazil (58%) and the United States (57%).

sources provides a more comprehensive explanation of how Gallup uses the Cantril scale than is given above. downloads a pdf of a brochure with results for all countries.

Hadley Cantril.
The pattern of human concerns.
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1965.

Hadley Cantril.
Self-Anchoring Scaling, A Measure of Individuals' Unique Reality Worlds.
Journal of Individual Psychology, vol. 16 (Nov. 1960) pages 158-173.

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